Work, work, work... Yes, bicycles still do much of the work here in Bhutan too, but one gets the sense that toil is not in the daily equation. One of the main Buddhist tenets (and Bhutan is a stronghold of Buddhism), is that of “controlled passion”, and this might hold an explanation for the fore-mentioned condition - as witnessed by my indigenous bicycle this month.

My “Dampened Spirit” 3-speed, is a well maintained bicycle. One pedal revolution, and I knew I was dealing with a bike that lived in the moment. Solid and smooth, with a built-in sense of purpose. It was outfitted with a nice set of wicker panniers, and an economy-sized, wooden rear carrier. Heck, the feeling of the machine was so infectious, I found myself looking for work, and enlisted myself in roadside litter pick-up. Climbing out of one ditch, I was stunned to notice the Spirit’s axles were held fast to its frame with uncompromising Campy Record Pista axle nuts!

As an aside, the word “maintenance” is a contractual relationship, suggesting that someone is committed in the care of you... And the adornment of Campagnolo parts says that that someone holds you in the highest of esteem. Philosophically speaking, I personally can’t think of a better code than the teaching and practice of these principals.

And it is with this new insight that I, Global Freddie, have awoken to the realization that my very own internal questioning is inextricably intertwined in a sort of pas de deux with these stoic, internally geared conveyances -these fruits of the Steel Plant, herbasious ferrousæ- for they have provided me with profound carriage and personal solace throughout this Eastern sojourn.

Next month I’ll be riding through Nepal, trying to remember that the Himalayas are just an exercise in maintenance for my legs and lungs -Global Freddie.

<INDEX                                                  JUNE - 2001                                                       NEXT>



Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie